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GV Box Set, Disc Four

Capitol Compact Disc C2 0777 7 81298 2 0

1. Sail On Sailor


Produced by Carl Wilson

Entered the Billboard singles chart 2/24/73. It peaked at #79.

Re-entered the Billboard singles chart 4/12/75. It peaked at #49.

2. California

(A. Jardine)

Produced by Carl Wilson and Alan Jardine

Entered the Billboard singles chart 5/12/73. It peaked at #84.

3. Trader

(C. Wilson/J. Rieley)

Produced by Carl Wilson

4. Funky Pretty


Produced by Brian Wilson and Carl Wilson

5. Fairy Tale Music

(Brian Wilson)

Produced by Brian Wilson

Tracks #1-5 are from Holland, which entered the Billboard LP chart 1/27/73. It peaked at #36 and spent 30 weeks on the chart.

6. You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Along (Previously unreleased)

(B. Wilson/J. Rieley)

7. Marcella

(B. Wilson/J. Rieley)

8. All This Is That


Tracks #6-8 are from Carl and the Passions, So Tough, which entered the Billboard LP chart 6/3/72. It peaked at #50 and spent 20 weeks on the chart.

The production credit for the album read “Produced by Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Alan Jardine, Ricky Fataar, Blondie Chaplin. Especially Carl.”

9. Rock And Roll Music

(Chuck Berry)

Entered the Billboard singles chart 6/5/76. It peaked at #5.

10. It’s OK

(B. Wilson/M. Love)

Entered the Billboard chart 8/21/6. It peaked at #29.

11. Had To Phone Ya

(B. Wilson/M. Love)

12. That Same Song

(B. Wilson/M. Love)

Tracks #9-12 were produced by Brian Wilson, they are from 15 Big Ones, which entered the Billboard LP chart 7/17/76. It peaked at #8 and spent 27 weeks on the chart.

13. It’s Over Now

(Brian Wilson)

Produced by Brian Wilson

14. Still I Dream Of It

(Brian Wilson)

Produced by Brian Wilson

15. Let Us Go On This Way

(B. Wilson/M. Love)

16. The Night Was So Young

(Brian Wilson)

17. I’ll Bet He’s Nice

(Brian Wilson)

18. Airplane

(Brian Wilson)

Tracks #15-18 are from The Beach Boys Love You, which entered the Billboard LP chart 4/30/77. It peaked at #53 and spent 7 weeks on the chart.

Love You was produced by Brian Wilson & Carl Wilson was the mixdown producer.

19. Come Go With Me

(C.E. Quick)

Produced by Alan Jardine and Ron Altbach

Entered the Billboard singles chart 11/21/81. It peaked at #18.

“Come Go With Me” is from the M.I.U. album, which entered the Billboard LP chart 10/21/78. It peaked at #151 and spent four weeks on the chart.

20 Our Team (Previously unreleased)

(B. Wilson/C. Wilson/D. Wilson/A. Jardine/M. Love)

21. Baby Blue


22. Good Timin’

(B. Wilson/C. Wilson)

Entered the Billboard singles chart 4/28/79. It peaked at #40.

Tracks #21-22 were produced by Bruce Johnston, the Beach Boys and James William Guercio, they are from the L.A. Light Album, which entered the Billboard LP chart on 4/7/79. It peaked at #100 and spent 13 weeks on the chart.

23. Goin’ On

(B. Wilson/M. Love)

Produced by Bruce Johnston

Entered the Billboard singles chart 4/12/80. It peaked at #83.

24. Getcha Back

(M. Love/T. Melcher)

Produced by Steve Levine

Entered the Billboard singles chart 5/25/85. It peaked at #26.

“Getcha Back” is from The Beach Boys 1985

25. Kokomo


Produced by Terry Melcher

Entered the Billboard singles chart 9/24/88 It peaked at #1 and spent 1 week at #1.

“Kokomo” was originally included on the Cocktail soundtrack album. “Kokomo” was also included on the Beach Boys Still Cruisin’ album, which entered the Billboard LP chart on 9/16/89. It peaked at #46 and spent 22 weeks on the chart.

(Reissue Note: Endless Summer, a two-LP greatest hits collection, entered the Billboard album chart 7/20/74, reached #1 and spent 155 weeks on the chart. A two-LP set of Wild Honey/20/20 entered the albums chart 8/3/74, peaked at #50 and spent 11 weeks on the chart. A two-LP set of Smiley Smile/Friends entered the album chart 11/9/74, peaked at #125 and spent six weeks on the chart. Spirit Of America, a two-LP sequel to Endless Summer, entered the Billboard chart 5/3/75, peaked at #8 and spent 43 weeks on the chart. Good Vibrations – Best of The Beach Boys, a hits compilation of he best from 1966-1973, entered the Billboard LP chart 7/19/75, peaked at #25 and spent 23 weeks on the chart. Ten Years Of Harmony, a two-LP compilation of the best tracks from 1970-1980, entered the chart 12/26/81, peaked at #156 and spent eight weeks on the chart. Sunshine Dream, a two-LP best of set, entered the album chart 7/3/8, peaked at #180 and spent six weeks on the chart. Made In U.S.A., a two-LP best of, entered the chart 7/26/86, peaked at #96 and spent 12 weeks on the chart.

CD #4 opens with one of the best Beach Boys songs of the last twenty years, Brian’s comforting “Sail On Sailor.” It wasn’t a big hit, although it charted twice, once in 1973 and once in 1975, it never got any higher that #49 in Billboard.

The lead singer on “Sail On Sailor” is guitar player Blondie Chaplin, one of two black South Africans (drummer Ricky Fataar was the other) who were with the Beach Boys during much of the first half of the decade. They had been introduced to the Beach Boys world when Carl Wilson produced an album by their family group, Flame. In early 1972, when Bruce Johnston left the band, Blondie and Ricky became official Beach Boys. (It’s interesting to note that the Beach Boys, with little fanfare, integrated what many consider to be the quintessential white pop group.)

Next on this set from Holland is part three of the group’s ambitious “California Saga” trilogy (which included a reworked version of Mike’s “Landlocked/Surf’s Up” era outtake “Big Sur” and the poetry of Robinson Jeffers). Al’s “California” was his paean to his Northern California home; despite Brian’s inviting “On my way to sunny Californ-i-a” vocal intro and the hook-filled, familiar melody, the single didn’t chart high (Billboard #84).

“Trader” (CD #4/Track #3) might just be Carl Wilson’s best realized composition; it also was an almost instant concert standout. Amidst what, by 1974, was starting to become a familiar set list of old hits, “Trader” was four-plus minutes for Carl to shine with a new song that stood out (even between two Beach Boys classics) for its quality and depth.

“Funky Pretty,” the second Brian Wilson original on Holland, closed the album; on the tag of the song, there is more stellar vocal work from Blondie. /// As a “bonus,” the Holland LP came with a special 7” EP record that featured an auto-biographical fairy tale, composed and written primarily by Brian and narrated by Jack Rieley. If you are at all interested in Brian’s personal psychodrama, you should hear the whole thing. Titled “Mt. Vernon & Fairway” (named for the intersection where the Love family grew up), it’s an allegory for Brian’s creative life.

For the listener, the frustrating aspect of this piece was that the music was partly covered by narration. So here, for the very first time, is the fairy tale music without the voice-over, allowing us to hear this beautiful music as music…as it came out if the real “magic transistor radio.”

Scoring the fairy tale as if it were a film, you can feel the atmosphere Brian evokes with not much more than a piano. It really showcases Brian’s amazing ability to write music that perfectly captures a mood.

The story of the making of the Holland LP is a convoluted one, but suffice it to say, the bulk of the album was actually recorded, at great and crippling expense, in Holland. With the help of great reviews, it became the Beach Boys’ highest charting release (Billboard #36) since Wild Honey back in 1967, and set the stage for their amazing comeback of 1974.

Next up on CD #4 are three of the best cuts from 1972’s Carl and the Passions: So Tough.  Of special note is the incredible versatility of Carl’s singing – rockin’ on “You Need A Mess Of Help”…the classic Beach Boys sound on “Marcella,” a summer evocation of hits that failed to chart…and one of Carl’s most beautiful vocals ever, “All This Is That.”

Between January 1973 and June, 1976, the Beach Boys released no new studio albums. However, without making a record, they became one of the most popular groups in America. In a year-end review of 1973, Holland was one of five albums selected by Rolling Stone as “Album Of The Year,” and that endorsement lead the alternative media (FM radio, rock critics and Stone’s large underground audiences) to a new-found appreciation of the band.

In 1974, the group enjoyed the platinum success of Capitol’s latest greatest hits compilation, Endless Summer, (it became their first #1 LP in ten years and spent 3 years on the charts), and its “gold” sequel, Spirit Of America. In person, the Beach Boys delivered the knock-out punch both in England (where they played Wembley Stadium, opening for Elton John’s Captain Fantastic show) and in America, (on a tour with a near-its-peak Chicago), as they got the chance to prove to contemporary audiences that the Beach Boys were much more than an “oldies” group. (A two-record set, The Beach Boys in Concert, which mixed classics and more recent material, was released at the end of 1973, and it eventually went “gold.”) And singing on Elton’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and Chicago’s “Wishing You Were Here,” it was clear their “sound” was still made for hits.

The public was ready for a new album. The Beach Boys were overdue, and Warner Brothers was anxious for something fresh to promote. But in a sense, the Beach Boys found themselves hamstrung by the once-again commercial success of their legacy, as, in response to the success of Endless Summer, the concerts increasingly became celebrations of the “old” music.

That internal creative frustration, trying to be current and relevant, while, simultaneously, living off the past, carried over to the recording process. The group, spurred on by (Chicago’s producer /mentor and the Beach Boys new manager) James William Guercio, went to his famous Caribou ranch, but sessions there yielded little…a version of “Ding Dang” and the track for “Good Timin’.” Back home at their Santa Monica base, Brother Studio, not much more was accomplished; the Beach Boys recorded a few things, including Dennis’ “The River Song.” (That song ultimately made it onto his terrific 1977 solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, a record that to many observers confirmed what his earlier tracks like “Forever” had indicated…that Dennis was a very powerful and unique creative force quite distinct from the other Beach Boys…capable of emerging from Brian’s intimidating artistic shadow.)

In late 1975, with pressure from Warner Brothers for a new album mounting, the Beach Boys again turned to Brian. 1976’s 15 Big Ones was backed by a huge, misguided “Brian Is Back” campaign, which earned the group cover stories in Crawdaddy and Rolling Stone, an NBC-TV special, and, sabotaging Brian’s public comeback almost as soon as it had started, a disturbing solo appearance by Brian on “Saturday Night Live.”

All that publicity and attention helped propel 15 Big Ones into the top ten and “gold” LP status, something a new Beach Boys hadn’t done in ten years, and something that wouldn’t happen again for more than another decade. From the album comes four songs (CD#4 / Track #9-12). “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music” was a #5 hit. Also from 15 Big Ones are: “It’s OK” (Billboard #29), a fun “Do It Again” – style retro-rocker… “That Same Song,” a real gospel workout…and “Had To Phone Ya,” a song that has its musical roots in the Pet Sounds recording, “Trombone Dixie.” All the Beach Boys take a lead turn on this one, ending with Brian on the tag (introducing his new “low and manly” voice), presaging what was to come vocally on The Beach Boys Love You.

But before 1977’s Love You was released, Brian recorded a half-dozen or so songs for a “big band” album, the still-unreleased Adult Child: two beautiful ballads from those sessions, two of Brian’s best unreleased songs, “It’s Over Now” and “Still I Dream Of It” (CD#4 / Tracks #13-14) are included on this set. Reportedly, he wrote them with the intention that they be recorded by somebody like Frank Sinatra, for whom “It’s Over Now” seems particularly well-suited. Carl, however, putting pain into his angel voice, gives “It’s Over Now” a perfect reading. In “Still I Dream Of It,” the idea of the chorus lyric is so sad that Brian’s lead vocal, reflecting the ravages of time and abuse, matches the longing and heartbreak of the words.

In April, 1977, with the “Brian Is Back” hype behind them, The Beach Boys Love You was released to mixed reaction. Some hailed Love You’s production (or relative lack thereof) as refreshing in comparison to that era’s overproduced “AOR” rock. For others, those who had so admired the immaculate recordings from the group’s first decade, Love You was inexplicable.

Regardless of how you felt about the album’s sparse production or Brian’s lead vocals, on Love You, he proved that his compositional skills were intact. The record is still beloved as undeniably original, eccentric and primitive. Brian Wilson fans would have gladly accepted an LP like Love You every couple of years, unfortunately, it would be a decade before we would get another one.

The follow-up to Love You was named after Maharishi International University, the Iowa locale where the Beach Boys were headquartered for the making of the LP. If Love You was mostly Brian’s album, M.I.U. is Al’s best overall effort. Included from the sessions for that very listenable record are the top twenty hit “Come Go With Me,” and the heretofore-unavailable “Our Team,” a Beach Boys Party!-like sing-along.

M.I.U., was the band’s only 1978 release, was the Beach Boys last LP for Warners. Amidst great fanfare, they moved to CBS Records. But it was a marriage that never really took, partly because Brian decided he’d worked enough, and called Bruce Johnston (who since leaving the band in 1972 had written Grammy Award-winning “I Write The Songs”) to once again fill in for him.

The first release from the CBS era, mostly produced by Bruce, was 1979’s L.A. Light Album; it was another commercial and critical disappointment. Included are the lovely “Baby Blue” (the last new song of Dennis’ to appear on a Beach Boys LP), and the airplay “hit” from the album, the finally-finished Caribou track, the beautiful “Good Timin’” (Billboard #40).

The 1970’s ended for the Beach Boys much as the decade had begun, with an attempt to get Brian back in the studio full-time. Keepin’ The Summer Alive was recorded at Western, the sight of so many of the group’s greatest records, and half the songs were written by Brian and Mike. Even though the LP (featuring the single, “Goin’ On”) had its familiar moments, it just didn’t make it with the general public in 1980.

And so ended the decade. In 1981, as the group celebrated its 20th anniversary, the Beach Boys were experiencing career difficulties, and then, individual problems began to overshadow everything. With the Beach Boys’ recording career on hold, Mike and Carl both found time to make solo LPs. Carl actually left the group for a while, then returned to the fold in time for the real tragedy, the December 1983 drowning death of drummer Dennis. The genuine Beach Boy…the heart of the group…was gone.

Somehow, the band found the determination to carry on; maybe it came from the fact that they had been Beach Boys their entire adult lives. Finally, just before their annual Washington D.C. 4th of July concert, their luck changed when they were given an unintentional career boost by then-Secretary of The Interior James Watt, who banned the band from appearing at the Washington Monument, saying the Beach Boys attracted an undesirable element. Suddenly, they were in the news…if only there had been a new LP to promote.

So the group, prodded by CBS, began work with then-hot (Culture Club) producer Steve Levine. The result, a 1985 release simply titled The Beach Boys, was an album that suffered from not-strong enough songwriting and overprogrammed production. Included on the box from that disk is “Getcha Back” (Billboard #26), a Mike Love/Terry Melcher collaboration. With a nice group intro and Brian singing up top where he belongs, it feels like a Beach Boys record. The LP itself was full of great singing, especially from Carl (e.g. his vocal tour de force on “Where I Belong”), but proving that hit productions don’t always make hits, the album was not successful, and it effectively ended the group’s relationship with CBS.

The mid-to-late 80’s was a most difficult time of internal strife for the group. Just about the only happy occasion that brought all the Beach Boys together onstage or in the studio during that period was in December, 1986 when they went to Hawaii for their 25th anniversary television special. The one unexpected musical moment on the show, heard fleetingly under the closing credits, with a new song, “The Spirit Of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

But there was very little “spirit” to celebrate. Although he was busy writing and recording, it was Brian’s much-over-publicized personal problems that took center stage. And, ironically, in 1988, when he finally released a long-awaited (and critically-acclaimed) solo album, it was the Beach Boys who struck gold.

No one expected it. During the past fifteen years, the Beach Boys have recorded a number of songs for motion picture soundtracks (e.g. “Americathon,” “Problem Child”) that weren’t hits. (Note: Those will be included on a forthcoming Beach Boys Rarities collection.) But there is one remarkable exception – “Kokomo.”

Recorded (without Brian’s participation) for the soundtrack to the Tom Cruise vehicle “Cocktail,” the Mike Love-driven “Kokomo,” with a fantasy-filled lyric, wonderfully commercial melody and great Carl Wilson vocal riff, became the Beach Boys’ first #1, million-selling single in 22 years…since “Good Vibrations.” Thanks in part to “Kokomo,” the Cocktail soundtrack was a platinum hit, “Kokomo” was so popular that in 1989, when it was included on the Beach Boys’ Still Cruisin’ LP (their first new record for Capitol in twenty years), that album sold over 700,000 copies.

And that brings us to 1993. The Beach Boys, of course, continue to be one of the most popular attractions in the entertainment business, and just last year, released their 27th studio LP, Summer In Paradise. Brian Wilson, after decades of personal problems, is facing the future with a positive outlook. Maybe one day, the Beach Boys will make one last extraordinary record. Maybe they won’t. Certainly, as you’ll hear on this collection, they’ve already given us a lifetime supply of sublime sound.

During that past 22 years, I’ve often written about the Beach Boys and how much their powerful music means to fans like me and so many others all over the world. One of Brian’s oldest friends explains why the music makes us feel so good. “Brian Wilson is a healer. He always told me that his musical message is love, and he truly believes that all we need is love…he wants us to love each other. That may seem simplistic, but you can’t argue with a man whose music has brought so much joy and love to everybody that opens their heart and listens.”

As the primary creator of the music on this set, it seems appropriate that Brian have the last word about what his music does for him, and by extension, us. Brian: “It takes away fear. It adds strength. It’s life supporting.” As a lyric from his Pet Sounds album instructs, “Listen to my heart…beat. Listen, listen, listen.”

(Liner Notes by David Leaf. Leaf, a television writer and producer, is the author of the definitive Brian Wilson biography, The Beach Boys & The California Myth.) Notes © 1993 David Leaf.

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